Now, don’t go bananas over what you are about to read. What a boatload of benefits these delectable fruits contain. The flesh and the peel both have benefits of their own. Bananas contain dopamine and serotonin. I guess that’s why bananas are always smiling! Okay, just kidding about the smiling part. They are, however, antidepressants! Bananas have high levels of antioxidants and amino acids including tryptophan. Bananas also have the ability to reduce one’s blood sugar which is great news for diabetics. Bananas and their peels can reduce oxidative stress, something that daily life stresses and emotional stress can trigger. Bananas have also been found to enhance memory. So next time you are feeling a little down and need to relax a bit, grab that banana! This wonderful fruit helps promote sleep due to the compounds in the fruit: tryptophan, serotonin, dopamine. (Samad, N., Muneer, A., Ullah, N., Zaman, A., Ayaz M., and Ahmad, I., 2017)
Bananas are easy to digest and contain vitamins and minerals. Banana is a great food to eat when you are sick in bed. If struggling with diarrhea, slightly under-ripe bananas can help. It’s the over-ripe/very ripe bananas that can stimulate the bowels. Bananas are high in potassium and iron. If you are having leg cramps, grab a banana. A banana’s vitamin and mineral content makes it a great way to refuel after working out.
Bananas are high in carotenoids (Vitamin A) which promote immune health and lower the possibility of diabetes, cancers, and heart diseases. Again, the body is protected from oxidative stress by the antioxidants in bananas. Studies show that banana peel is also quite beneficial. Consuming banana peel does not sound too appetizing, I know. But using the extract or essential oil are other ways to reap the wondrous benefits of the fruit.
Bananas have been globally ranked as the fourth most common food. They are a great source of nutrients and are affordable (compared to meat, another source of iron and vitamin A). If you have severe vitamin or mineral deficiency it would be wise to see your doctor, and not rely solely on bananas (Englberger, L., Darnton-Hill, I., Coyne, T., Fitzgerald, M. H., & Marks, G. C., 2003).
Here is a quick nutrition analysis of banana: a 3 to 4 ounce banana only contains about 90 calories, with no fat. This amount of banana also contributes to the daily recommendations, such as: 10% (3 grams) of fiber, 15% of vitamin C, 28% of Vitamin B6 and 10% (467 grams) of potassium. Bananas only contain about 1 gram of banana, but the amount of fiber and mineral content and the mostly affordable cost makes it a great staple (and even comfort) food.
Here is a fun fact: Bananas and plantains are in the same family. In fact, a plantain is a starchy kind of banana. It is much more desirable once cooked (Englberger, L., Darnton-Hill, I., Coyne, T., Fitzgerald, M. H., & Marks, G. C., 2003).(Reference links available to paid members.)